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Antarctica

Antarctica Ice Loss Tripled in 5 Years, And That’s Raising Sea Level Risks

The most complete assessment to date of Antarctica's ice sheets confirms that the meltdown accelerated sharply in the past five years, and there is no sign of a slowdown. That means sea level is expected to rise at a rate that will catch some coastal communities unprepared despite persistent warnings, according to the international team of scientists publishing a series of related studies this week in the journal Nature. The scientists found that the rate of ice loss over the past five years had tripled compared to the previous two decades, suggesting an additional 6 inches of sea level rise from Antarctica alone by 2100, on top of the 2 feet already projected from all sources, including Greenland. "That may not sound like a lot, but it's a big deal for people living along coasts," said University of Leeds climate researcher Andrew Shepherd, who led the assessment, supported by NASA and the European Space Agency.

Antarctic Ice Shelf Larsen C Breaks Off Giant Iceberg

By John Zangas for DC Media Group - One of the biggest icebergs in recorded history, in both area and volume, broke off from the Antarctic East Peninsula and floated free sometime between Monday and early Wednesday morning. The ice mass separated from the Larsen C shelf in a process known as calving. Its surface area of roughly 2,550 square miles (5,800 sq. km) and average thickness of about 650 feet makes it the third largest iceberg ever recorded. The iceberg, designated as A68, has been tracked by scientists for several years and was expected to calve. The iceberg is comparable in size to the state of Delaware and is now drifting towards the Weddel Sea. As water and wind forces push it into the Southern Ocean, it will further break apart and melt as wave and wind forces move it against warmer ocean currents. This process may take years.

Historic Shrinking Of Antarctic Ice Sheet Linked To CO2 Spike

By Stacy Morford for LDEO - Twenty-three million years ago, the Antarctic Ice Sheet began to shrink, going from an expanse larger than today’s to one about half its modern size. Computer models suggested a spike in carbon dioxide levels as the cause, but the evidence was elusive – until now. Ancient fossilized leaves retrieved from a lake bed in New Zealand now show for the first time that carbon dioxide levels increased dramatically over a relatively short period of time as the ice sheet began to deteriorate.

Antarctica At Risk Of Runaway Melting, Scientists Discover

By John Upton for Climate Central - The world’s greatest reservoir of ice is verging on a breakdown that could push seas to heights not experienced since prehistoric times, drowning dense coastal neighborhoods during the decades ahead, new computer models have shown. A pair of researchers developed the models to help them understand high sea levels during previous eras of warmer temperatures.

A Message Of Hope For The New Year

By Jack Balkwill for Dissident Voice. There have been many victories and we need to celebrate them. Among the victories was stopping the northern portion of the KXL pipeline, various new laws in 24 states to prevent police violence and an increase inprosecutions of police who commit violence, and the increase in wages across the country and winning the critically important battle for net neutrality. These were people-powered victories that showed when we act together we have the power to defeat corporate interests. Another ongoing series of victories is seeing local people, who have not been involved in activism, working along with experienced, often young, energy activists, taking on big energy companies in an aggressive way. This is a victory.

World’s Largest Ice Sheets Melting At Fastest Rate Ever Recorded

Greenland and Antarctica are home to the two largest ice sheets in the world, and a new report released Wednesday says that they are contributing to sea level rise twice as much as they were just five years ago. Using the European Space Agency's CryoSat 2 satellite, the Alfred Wegener Institute from Germany has found that western Antarctica and Greenland are losing massive amounts of ice. "Combined, the two ice sheets are thinning at a rate of 500 cubic kilometres per year," said glaciologist Dr. Angelika Humbert, one of the authors of the AWI study, in a press release. "That is the highest speed observed since altimetry satellite records began about 20 years ago." The report, published in the online magazine The Cryosphere, says the CryoSat 2 satellite measured over 200 million elevation data points in Antarctica and 14.3 million in Greenland to track the loss of ice mass over the last several years. "When we compare the current data with those from the ICESat satellite from the year 2009, the volume loss in Greenland has doubled since then," said Humbert. "The loss of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has in the same time span increased by a factor of three."
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